Saturday, January 26, 2013

Body and soul convergence zone

Do you ever get the feeling of settling into your true self? That body, mind, and spirit are coming together? As though a puzzle is complete? As though you've slipped into your groove?

You might be one of those who love to serve by caring for people. Do you feel fulfilled when setting up a computer program or administrating an office? Do you thrive when baking, crunching numbers, cleaning, or driving? Artists and runners talk about a "high" when their skills, training, and focus converge.

This morning I was astonished. Surprised by joy. I connected a piece to my life-puzzle while leading a workshop. When I speak in front of a group (large or small), my whole body relaxes. I like it. It feels peaceful. Fulfilling. (The last time I did this, I couldn't have been more content if shot up with "happy drugs." Really! Strange, I know.)

Let me acknowledge those who hate getting up in front of crowds. You may assume every speaker pushes forward for attention. That insiders hog the limelight with prideful ambition. Or that those up front want to show off their talents.

Sometimes that's true. People on stage may look like they have their act together. Some wear flashy clothes and bling. Some come across as downright obnoxious.

But most of us are just showing up. Saying "yes" to our calling, like God's servants do in other arenas.

"How shall I decide what to do?" a ministry colleague asked me. "How will I know God wants me in a particular ministry?"

My advice was to say yes whenever the time, place, and your gifts match. Sure, I was nervous last week, thinking about the session. My speaking skills feel rusty. As I age, I depend on God's help more than ever before. "Yes" is not always easy. It often requires extensive preparation beforehand.

When I was done this morning, I called Mom to thank her for prayers. I depend on her wise counsel and her gift of intercession."Always remember," she said, "this is the Lord's gift, not something you can drum up."

Her caution rings true. Some of you would rather die than speak in public. Yet how soothing standing up with material to share is to those like my husband and me. W and I have discussed this talent: we've never sought after the speaker's chair. But somehow God wired us for this. (W comes home from teaching exhilarated - when others would be crawling on the ground, exhausted. Teaching fills him up rather than draining him.)

Those gifted to speak understand: our service has little to do with being up front, nothing to do with pushing forward. We rarely tell others about the pleasure of speaking because it makes us seem like show-offs.

Instead, this confluence of gift and calling makes us happy! We get to tell the Story or explain what we're learning ... out loud. How cool is that!

I don't look for ways to stand up and talk. More often than not, it's more fun to push others forward. (Another part of my wiring wants to see those in the shadows step into the spotlight. Smile on my face thinking about that pleasure!)

But when I stand with my notes, open my mouth, and hear God fill it, oh ... how grateful I am for this lovely gift and the ease it brings to my whole being.

What does your natural "groove" look like? How do you know when you're serving the way God designed you to be?

Read more:
*The Lord gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34 (NIV)

*Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant. Matthew 20:26

*Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. Ephesians 4:1-6 NLT

Moravian Prayer: Son of God, we humbly come before you this day thanking you for bringing us through another week. May whatever we do this day be a reflection of you. May we experience your holy presence guiding us to serve our brothers, sisters, and strangers in your name. Amen.

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